Launching your small business is both an exciting and an expensive venture. While you’re focusing on organizing your operation, perfecting your customer experience, and delivering quality products or services – you also need to be thinking about how to raise funds to make it all happen. This can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you’re unsure of where to begin.
Ways to Raise Funds for Your Small Business
Luckily, there are several ways for you to raise the funding you need for your business. Take advantage of as many avenues as you can to secure the capital you need as efficiently as possible!
#1: Apply for a Small Business Loan
Securing a small business loan is the easiest way to gain funding for your new business venture. There are a wide variety of loan types available to you. Whether you want to fully fund your business through a small business loan, or you just need a bridge loan to free up cash flow as you’re getting started, there’s a lender out there working with small business owners just like you!
Keep in mind that while small business loans are typically the most popular method of funding your small business, they’re also the most labor-intensive type of funding to secure. To qualify for a small business loan you may need to improve your credit score, find all of your financial and legal documents for submitting an application, know the different qualifications the lender you want to work with has, show your business plan to the lender to secure the loan, and (in some cases) you might need to provide some kind of collateral (like a vehicle or a house).
Crowdfunding is a newer method of funding your business, but it has worked for many start-ups around the world! Sites like Kickstarter allow entrepreneurs to post their projects, products, business ideas, and designs – then promote to a pool of interested investors. These investors are typically called “backers” and help to fund your project by contributing small amounts of money until you’ve reached your goal. In exchange, backers receive some kind of incentive – like an early version of the product, a shout out on social media, or to be listed as an investor on your small business’s website.
Crowdfunding Platforms are fantastic for small businesses who already have a large social media presence or following, because promoting them online is the easiest way to get more backers to support your business.
#3: Partner Up
If you find you’re short on funding, it may be because you’ve been going it alone for too long. Finding a business partner to assist in funding and managing the operations of your business can help in many different ways. First, you’ll have an additional person willing to front a portion of the capital you need – easing your financial burden.
Second, you’ll be able to tap into your new business partner’s network of professional and personal connections to request additional funding from investors. Finally, having a business partner helps you to avoid business burnout and share the cost and labor burden you’re currently facing as a solo business owner.
#4: Search for Government Grants
There are many different kinds of government grants, and many of them are intended to help small businesses receive the financing they need to get off the ground. Depending on the type of small business you’re looking to launch, you may qualify for one or multiple of these grants.
It’s common to see grants that are specific to either your niche or your location – and they’re also notoriously difficult to find (even if you’re seeking them out). Try searching federal and local government sites, but don’t be afraid to inquire about grants for your specific industry or area. You might be surprised what you turn up just by submitting an inquiry.
#5: Find an Angel Investor
An angel investor is someone who seeks out small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs specifically to invest money in their business ventures. Typically, angel investors offer their services to people they know – but this isn’t always the case. If you find someone looking for investment opportunities, it’s smart to inquire about what causes they’re passionate about, or what kind of impact they’d like to see their investment make to find out if your business is a good fit for them.
Angel investors aren’t always investing out of the goodness of their hearts – they do expect to see a return on their investment. However, unlike banks or lenders, they have more flexible terms. For example, you might have a lower interest rate from an angel investor, or you might be able to qualify for more funding.
It’s in your best interest as a business owner to seek out multiple paths of financing for your small business or startup. Finding several different options from the list above can help you to diversify your risk in case one option falls through, and you’ll be able to find more funding in the long run with multiple sources.